According to latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor quarterly tracker program, USA smartphone market crossed 40 million units at the end of Q1 2015 compared to 33 million units shipped in Q1 2014 last year.
- The USA smartphone market grew a healthy 23% annually back to the 2011 levels
- The demand was stimulated by accelerated replacement rates thanks to device installment + early upgrade plans and pent up demand for the new Apple iPhone 6 series
- 9 out of 10 mobile phones shipped during the quarter were smartphones
- More than 85% of the smartphones shipped were LTE capable
- Apple was the top smartphone supplier by a wider margin with strong demand for its iPhones carried forward into first quarter coming from strong holiday season
- One in three smartphones shipped in USA was an iPhone
- Apple & Samsung together captured more than 60% of the total smartphone share and 70% of LTE smartphones share
- Samsung smartphone share sin Q1 2015 was down 5% points compared to last year while LG almost doubled its smartphone share in USA market with greater shelf-share across all the carriers cementing its third spot in USA
- LG, ZTE and TCL-Alcatel were the star performers growing faster than the market capturing share away from Samsung, Kyocera, Pantech and HTC during the quarter
- ZTE was the number four smartphone brand closely followed by TCL-Alcatel as both the Chinese brands are carrier’s preferred low-cost manufacturers with strong traction in prepaid segment
- In terms of in-carrier share for the brands, Apple dominated at all of the top four carriers capturing more than 40% of Verizon & AT&T’s smartphone shipments and more than a third of smartphone shipments at T-Mobile & Sprint respectively
- T-Mobile (with MetroPCS) is now the second largest smartphone carrier buying more than 8 million units surpassing AT&T and Sprint platforms.
- Aggressive #Uncarrier tactics by T-Mobile continues to stimulate smartphone demand buying lot of phones from the suppliers during the quarter. However, we caution there might be some inventory at the end of Q1 2015 at T-Mobile
- The growth in US smartphone market is good news for the overall industry as consumers are now buying more smartphones than last year, opens up opportunities for more brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Meizu, Asus and others to make hay when the sun shines
- In coming quarters, as carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T promote more BYOD type subscribers, could stimulate open market unlocked devices sold through e-commerce channels. Players such as OnePlus, TCL-Alcatel have already launched smartphones with decent specs at highly affordable and competitive price points through open channels and we believe players such as Xiaomi also doing the same in future would drive smartphone growth
- According to our latest Monthly Market Pulse report, the launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge in US in April has been decent and the sell-through has been much better than the Galaxy S5 last year which will be an important factor to drive the growth and share for Samsung in Q2 2015.
- But it remains to be seen if Samsung can sustain the initial momentum in April with upcoming LG G4 launch and the new iPhone launches in Q3 later this year
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